Gigabyte BRIX (Intel NUC) GB-XM12-3227 Review

So… the other day I bought this Gigabyte BRIX barebone which is basically an Intel NUC system, but manufactured by Gigabyte. I’ve tried the vanilla Intel NUC systems before and it worked great, except the older generation which had over-heating issue but resolved after adding a thermal pad to it as well as a firmware upgrade, but overall still pretty okay I guess.

Now, back to Gigabyte BRIX, specifically the GB-XM12-3227 model. I can’t talk about the other models as I have never used it before, so let’s just stick to this one.

All-and-all, it worked fine at first. It booted up Windows 10 without any problem, HDMI connected to the monitor without any problem, great resolution, etc. UNTIL I tried to use the web browser. Even though the internet status is “connected”, I still couldn’t use the damn internet on my browser.

After hours and hours of research and trials, I realized that the issue is the firmware. Not only it’s old (from 2013), but it’s supposedly for Windows 8.1, and not Windows 10. Went to Gibabyte’s website to look for the latest drivers, and guess what, they only have firmware updates up to 2014, so still, no Windows 10 support.

Further more, I downloaded the latest BIOS and tried to flash it, only to realize the BIOS utility doesn’t support 64-bit Windows, because it is a god-damn Windows XP Service Pack 2 executable file!

Then, I went to Windows 10’s Device Manager and check out my wireless network adapter’s properties. This is when I realized the WiFi adapter only supports up to IEEE 802.11b/g and not the newer IEEE 802.11b/g/n, which unfortunately is what I set on my router. So then I moved over to my router’s admin page and changed the Transmission Mode to the appropriate setting.

I have no idea what’s causing this. Outdated BIOS? Outdated drivers? I have no idea.

However, despite able to connect to the internet now, the speed is still very limited. Often time it took roughly 20 seconds or more just to load a web page.

Then, I used a Chinese software called 360安全卫士 (translated as “360 Safety Guard”) and went to the “Optimization and Speed-up” page. That particular page contains an automated scan-and-fix feature which includes “network speed-up” option.

After running the optimization process, my wireless network is finally back to usable state! What sorcery is that?? (However, IEEE 802.11b/g/n is still not supported).

Overall, the Gigabyte BRIX works okay except the BIOS and drivers are really outdated and urgently need an update. That’s all for today, have a nice day folks.

OpenGL Side Project

It’s been a long while since my last update. I was extremely busy for the past few months and only by now I have a little bit of spare time so I decided to work on a little side project just for fun.

I always wanted to learn OpenGL since a teen and hoped that one day I could make my own game engine that runs OpenGL. Even though I created a half-baked game engine/level editor thingy back in 2010 but I was using Irrlicht rendering engine so that doesn’t really count.

After messing around a bit with Qt 5 and OpenGL coding, I’m finally getting a pretty awesome results!! :

At the moment my prototype does the following:

  • Running OpenGL 3.2 core profile and GLSL 150
  • Loads OBJ files and PNG/JPEG textures
  • Move, rotate, scale model
  • Camera navigation (move, rotate, look at) using keyboard input
  • Skybox

Like I said, nothing fancy yet but even this took me quite some time to get it working since I’m using Qt 5 with OpenGL. Most of the tutorials out there only teach OpenGL with SDL, GLFW, GLUT, etc. but not with Qt. The reason why I’m using Qt instead of SDL is mainly because I like the additional features in Qt such as networking, image loader, file loader, etc. which will save a ton of my time since I don’t have to reinvent the wheel, or worse, trying to integrate my project with random 3rd party libraries that may or may not compatible with each other. I had a pretty bad experience when working on my Irrlicht project back then so I’m trying to avoid that now. Also, I may want to use Qt 5 to create a level editor for this project (currently only working on the ‘core’ library) so it makes sense if I also use Qt for the core parts.

Since this is a spare time side project so I might not work on it on a regular basis and might not even finish it, who knows? That’s all for today, ciao.

Some Quick Update

Just to keep you guys updated – I’ve been really really busy for the past few months! Lots of projects to handle and lots of travelings and outstations. Good news is, our company is expanding steadily and hopefully I’ll have more time for this blog very soon.

Anyway, I have published a new book entitled “Qt5 C++ GUI Programming Cookbook“. Do check it out!

Stay tuned.

Easter Egg

If you have bought my book “Building a Game with Unity and Blender“, you may have realized the sword model shown in Chapter 2 “Creating Characters” is no where to be found in the source files.

Fear not! The sword is actually hidden in Player.blend, which you can unhide by press alt-H in Blender.

Initially I wanted to use the sword model in the game demo. However, eventually I ended up doing punching animation instead of sword-wielding, which is why I hide the sword (instead of deleting it) before moving on to do the animations for Chapter 3.

You can try and unhide the sword, then import it to Unity and parent the sword model to one of the hand bones of the game character. It might even look like sword-wielding when playing the punching animation!

Game Dev Week Half Price Promotion

It’s time for goodies again!

In conjunction with Game Dev Week 2016, some of books at Packt Publishing that are related to game development are now half of the original price, including the book I wrote, “Building a Game with Unity and Blender“! Click on the banner below to check out the promotion.

You can also check out some other offers here.

Also, Packt Pub is giving out an ebook every day for FREE till the 8th of March. Grab yours now!